Saturday, October 19, 2013

Elections today

More signs
Corner of Louisiana and St. Charles on Friday. D. Nicole Shepherd campaign workers set up to waive signs in the shadow of an 8 foot tall Nanak Rai billboard. 

Never a dull moment.
The anonymous campaign flier, signed by a bogus election committee, features a warning stamped on the front: “Please keep out of the sight of children,” it says.

And thus began the latest mud-slinging episode in an already-nasty battle among eight candidates competing to be New Orleans’ next Traffic Court judge in Saturday’s election.

“Before you even consider voting for this indiviual [sic] for judge, think about it long and hard,” the flier reads, next to a picture of candidate Richard Perque.

On the back is a photo of Perque and another man, hugging, shirtless and wearing skimpy swimsuits.

“Richard Perque wants to be a Traffic Court judge,” it reads. “Really??!!!!”

It is signed: “Paid for by the Committee for Common Decency.”

No such committee exists.
I collect unusual campaign mailers. (Or at least I did before Menckles started throwing them all away behind my back.) So I'm a little disappointed I didn't get one of these.   Luckily, Clay got one and uploaded it to Flickr for posterity.

Apparently he wasn't the only person passing this around the internet, though.

The online version, featuring the same photograph, was primarily pushed by a Twitter handle named “New Orleans Truth.”

That Twitter feed spent much of its early existence in 2011 hocking spa treatments and moisturizers. In the fall of 2011, it switched to exclusively supporting the campaign that year of Traffic Court candidate Patrick Giraud. He lost, and the Twitter account tweeted nothing for two years.

Giraud is again running to be Traffic Court judge, against Perque and a half-dozen others, and on Thursday night, after two years of silence, the “New Orleans Truth” Twitter returned, blasting three dozen tweets with the photo of Perque and the other man in swimsuits.

The tweets were accompanied by various insults for both Perque and his parents.

“As a father and a brother I would be ashamed of this type of behavior. Judge worthy? NOOO,” one tweet says.

“Parenting gone wrong,” says another.

Giraud vehemently denied that he was behind the attack and said he has gay relatives and friends. He said he doesn’t even know how to tweet.

Doesn't even know how to tweet? "Really??!!!!" Actually, if Giraud really is behind the amateurish attempt at a Twitter slime campaign described above, we may have to take him at his word there. Either way, I'm not sure I'm confident installing a person who lacks the tech savvy to briefly type words in a field to a position of oversight over New Orleans's red light cameras.

A few weeks ago, The Advocate described the traffic court race as "a stampede of lawyers."  It's something of a plum position.
A stampede of lawyers is battling it out for a seat on the bench in one of New Orleans’ most derided courthouses, just months before a legislative commission is set to recommend whether the very judgeship they’re fighting for should be abolished.

The Traffic Court bench has long been attractive for politicians, not for prestige but for its part-time hours and six-figure pay.

Eight lawyers are now running in the Oct. 19 election to replace retired Judge Ron Sholes. Two of them are likely to meet in a Nov. 16 runoff.

Political watchers say the race is a complete toss-up: Any of the candidates could win in a low-profile special election unlikely to lure many voters to the polls.
You can look through the rest of that article for profiles of the candidates and their positions. I can't recommend any candidate in particular, but do get out and vote. Otherwise they might think you're content with whatever.

Orleans Parish voters will also find this on their ballot.
After grinding through the Legislature this spring, lawmakers' changes to the makeup of the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board seemed a done deal. All that remained was a relatively minor edit to the City Charter, and the City Council would be pushed back from direct control over the water board's operations.

But before voters consider that charter amendment Oct. 19, a loosely organized opposition to the measure is starting to take hold. Several groups, including members of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee and the Black Organization for Leadership Development, or BOLD, are making a final attempt to derail the changes. They want to cast them as weakening the S&WB's accountability by removing publicly elected council members from its ranks.

"You're taking the rights away from elected officials and giving it to appointed officials," Constable Lambert Boissiere Jr. said. "When was the last time you heard of an appointed official attending a community meeting?"
Yesterday I heard a radio ad pushing passage of the charter reform.  It's the first time I can remember a radio campaign that actually played up the fact that an initiative would place even more appointment authority in the hands of non-elected University Presidents. Regular readers of this blog (God help you) may know that this is a longstanding pet peeve of mine.  These five professional socialite fundraisers seem to sit on nearly every public board in the city. It's hard to think of a more elitist and undemocratic way to go about governing.  But then, this is Mitch Landrieu's New Orleans so no big surprise there.

The same ad also asked voters to consider the recent history of S&WB mishaps resulting in citywide boil orders. Not that the charter amendment will do anything to prevent recurrence of those incidents but, consider them anyway.  In particular the ad suggested that we consider, "what if that had happened during a major convention or Mardi Gras."  Because, as everyone knows, it's perfectly fine for you or I to chug and snort amoebae all year long.  But if a tourist were somehow exposed to our health hazards, well then that's a problem.  But, again, Mitch Landrieu's New Orleans.

Anyway have fun voting. At least they still allow you to.

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